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Taylor, Jacob N; Crooks, M. O. Sketch Book of St. Louis: Containing a Series of Sketches of the Early Settlement, Public Buildings, Hotels, Railroads, Steamboats, Foundry and Machine Shops, Mercantile Houses, Grocers, Manufacturing Houses, Etc . St. Louis: George Knapp and Co, 1858. [format: book], [genre: guidebook; narrative]. Permission: Tulane University
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Chapter XIII. Railroads — (Continued.)


The work upon this road was commenced in the summer of 1852, and was prosecuted with unparalleled energy, notwithstanding various difficulties and discouragements, until the latter part of the month of February, 1856, when the entire track was complete and ready for the first passage of the iron horse from the shores of the Atlantic ocean to the banks of the Mississippi — thus giving to St. Louis the first direct route to the East via the Bellefontaine Railroad, and the first direct route to Cincinnati. The location of this road, with its superior connections for all Eastern, Northern, North-eastern and Southeastern cities, renders it of vast importance to the business interests of St. Louis, and occupying, as it does, a central position between the Chicago and Cincinnati route, (and at the same time from its connections being a dangerous rival for the business of both those places,) it seems to us almost impossible for another route of even equal advantages to be located. It is admirably situated for a heavy and profitable local traffic, traversing a large stock-growing and agricultural region, passing through the far-famed prairies of Illinois — presenting alternate views of prairie, ridge prairie and woodland. The lands along

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its borders are being rapidly settled — new villages are springing up with astonishing growth — the older towns are improving steadily — and an air of thrift is apparent along the entire line which warrants liberal expectations for the future. The coal lands of the company are now being mined, and, as they are very rich and extensive, will prove a source of great revenue to the company, and of immense advantage to the manufacturing interests of St. Louis.

The length of this road, from the banks of the Mississippi at St. Louis to the banks of the Wabash at Terre-Haute, is one hundred and eighty-seven miles. The track is well built upon an almost level ridge prairie, with but few cuts, and little or no trestle work in comparison with the generality of western railways. At the crossings of small water-courses especial attention has been paid to the safety of the work. The bridges are built of the heaviest timber, and the culverts are as strong as the most massive masonry can render them. The track is laid with the heaviest T rail upon large well made ties, and scoured by a patent chair, and being well ballasted can be run with safety at a high rate of speed. The company have opened large gravel pits, and are constantly engaged in the work of ballasting. This adds to the strength and solidity of the road — rendering the track level and firm, and cars run along upon it as smoothly as upon a well-polished floor. This road has been noted for the ease and comfort one finds in riding over it; and, it is, in a great measure, to be attributed to the attention paid to ballasting. The company own and are running thirty-one Express Passenger and Freight Locomotives. They have been carefully selected and are equal to any manufactured in the United States. Many of them are known as Minute Engines. Being of great power and speed, it is but an easy matter for them to keep on time and insure connection

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a very important consideration to the passenger. They have thirty splendid first class passenger cars, built in the latest style with all the new improvements — they are very wide and roomy and are furnished in the most superior manner. The seats are large, with high backs, enabling a person to sit or recline at his pleasure. We had thought that there could be no improvement upon these cars, until informed that this company have contracted for a number of Woodruff's celebrated Patent Sleeping Cars. This is a new invention, lately patented, and consists of sectional seats so formed that they can be changed into berths in a moment and at the pleasure of the passenger — they form small apartments, and a gentleman and and his family can be almost as comfortable in one of them as in the rooms of our best hotels. Taking the night train on this route from St. Louis the passenger can retire to bed, and in the morning awaken at Indianapolis for early breakfast. All of these cars are furnished with saloons, and contain every improvement that can add either to the pleasure or the comfort of the traveller; they are remarkable for the ease with which they ride — are kept very clean and neat, and as an additional comfort the passengers are constantly supplied with good water by train boys kept expressly for the purpose. In addition to the first class passenger cars, they have some twenty second class or emigrant cars, an equal number of baggage and mail cars, four hundred and fifty freight and stock cars; and are constantly making additions to their rolling stock as the increase of business demands.

The American Express and Valentine Freight Express Company run over this road, and have almost a world-wide reputation. Both these companies furnish their own cars, and add greatly to the business of this line.

During the spring and summer season four daily trains are run over this road (both ways), viz: two lightning express

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trains, one express mail, and one through freight train. These trains are under the charge of efficient and energetic conductors, who combine the qualities of faithful officers and perfect gentlemen. Passengers are treated with every attention — all questions politely answered, and every one made to feel "at home." This has added greatly to the popularity of this favorite route.


The various connections of this road are valuable, and have been maintained heretofore with a most liberal and accomodating spirit. In order to give a clear and perfect idea of the location and importance of this road we shall give its connections in full.

Leaving St. Louis with her smoky manufactories — her large and imposing warehouses — her levee lined with steamers from all the navigable waters of the west, and crowded with the produce of all sections, we take the cars at East St. Louis, better known as "Bloody Island," from its being the battle-ground upon which the citizens of St. Louis formerly settled their personal difficulties according to the "code of honor," and passing through the "American Bottom" soon arrive at the "Junction," where passengers bound for Alton take the "Junction train," and are soon landed in the "City of Hills." Leaving the Junction, we pass the thriving village of Bethalto, and soon reach the "prairies of Illinois," rapidly passing the towns of Bunker Hill, Gillespie, Clyde, Litchfield, Hillsboro', Irving and Nokomis, we arrive at Pana, ninety-three miles east of St. Louis, and the junction of the Terre-Haute, Alton and St. Louis and main line of the Illinois Central Railroad.

1st Connection. — At Pana, with main line of Illinois Central

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Railroad, for Vandalia, Sandoval, Centralia, Jonesboro' and Cairo, on the south; and for Decatur, Bloomington, Peoria, LaSalle, Burlington, Rock Island, Iowa City, Mendota, Dixon, Fulton City, Freeport, Galena, Dunleith and Dubuque, on the north. Also, connecting at Dunleith with the magnificent passenger packets of the "Minnesota Packet Company," for Lacrosse, Wenona, Prairie du Chien, Stillwater, St. Paul, and all points in Minnesota and the North-west Territory. The river scenery from Dunleith to St. Paul rivals the far-famed scenery of the Hudson river. The "Maiden's Leap," Lake St. Croix, and many other interesting points memorable in Indian history, are passed, until the pleasure-seeker finds himself at the "Falls of St. Anthony," abounding in the most magnificent works of nature.

Leaving Pana, a "Prairie City" in embryo, we quickly reach Shelbyville, quite an important place and the eating station on this road. We must here state that those who are fond of good eating and an abundance of it will find it here, and also sufficient time to eat with comfort — without fear of being disturbed by that disagreeable sound to a hungry person, of "all aboard." Having refreshed the "inner man," we at once take our seat in the cars, and are passing in rapid succession Thornton, Windsor and Summit stations, and soon reach Mattoon, the junction with the Chicago Branch of the Illinois Central Railroad.

2d Connection. — At Mattoon, with the Chicago Branch of the Illinois Central Railroad — for Effingham, Oden, Centralia and intermediate points on the south; and switching off a car for the north, another locomotive takes charge of it and swiftly passes out of sight in the direction of Chicago — thus giving passengers a delightful ride in splendid state-room cars from St. Louis to the "Lake City" without change. At Tolono,

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connecting with the Great Western, Toledo and Wabash Railroad — for Lafayette, Fort Wayne, Toledo, and all northern and eastern cities. Leaving Tolono, we swiftly glide by the beautiful prairie towns of Urbana, Rantoul, Pera, Loda, Chebanse, the French settlement of Kankakee, Manteeno and intermediate stations, and soon arrive at the Great Central Depot in Chicago, where connections are made with the Michigan Central, Michigan Southern, Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago, Chicago and Milwaukee, and all railroads terminating at Chicago.

Leaving Chicago by the Michigan Central and Michigan Southern, passengers have choice of the Great Canada route via Suspension Bridge or Lake Shore route, for the north and east.

Leaving Mattoon, the beautiful towns of Charleston, Ashmore, Kansas, Dudley, Paris, and other intermediate stations, are rapidly passed, and we arrive at Terre-Haute on the banks of the Wabash river, where connection is made with the Terre-Haute and Richmond Railroad (one of the best managed roads in the country), for Indianapolis.

Leaving Terre-Haute, we pass numerous stations until we arrive at Greencastle, the junction of the Terre-Haute, and Richmond, and New Albany and Salem Railroads, the latter running due north from New Albany to Michigan City.

Leaving Greencastle, we run due east through a beautiful section of country; passing Fillmore, Clayton, Plainfield, Bridgeport, and numerous other thriving towns, we arrive at Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, and the great railroad centre of the West. This city has a population of forty thousand, with many fine public buildings, and is noted for the superiority of its hotels. It is beautifully situated — has a large and growing business — and is the great centre of the Railroad

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roads of the West, no less than eight roads terminating at this point in a Great Union Depot.

Connections at Indianapolis. — 1st with those old and popular routes, the Bellefontaine and Indiana Central Railroads. — The Bellefontaine Railroad runs due north-east from Indianapolis to Cleveland, passing through Anderson, Union, (junction of Columbus, Piqua and Indiana Railroads,) Dallas, Hardin, Pemberton and Bellefontaine, where connection is made with the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad, for Forest, Clyde, Sandusky, and all points on the Lake shore. Continuing on from Bellefontaine, we soon reach Galion, where we connect with the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad on an air line for Cleveland, Dunkirk, Buffalo, Niagara Falls and intermediate points on the Lake shore. At Dunkirk, New York and Boston, passengers take the New York and Erie Broad Gauge Railroad, passing through the Great Valley, Genesee, Hornellsville, Corning, Elmira, Tioga, Owego, Binghampton, Great Bend, Susquehanna, Deposit, Port Jervis, and Patterson to Jersey City, presenting some of the most beautiful views of mountain scenery in New York, and passing through the celebrated Goshen Valley, made famous by the superior quality of its butter. Or continuing on to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, (viewing this stupendous work of Nature,) take the cars of the New York Central Railroad (double track), passing through Batavia, Rochester, Palmyra, Canandaigua, Seneca Fails, Auburn, Syracuse, Rome, and Utica to Schenectady, where passengers for the celebrated Saratoga Springs, Troy, and Rutland, Vermont, leave us, and we continue on to Albany, the capital of the "old York State." Having thus passed through many of the most populous and business cities of the State, we take the cars of the famous Hudson River Railroad, giving us many beautiful views of the magnificent scenery of

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the Hudson river as we glide along swiftly towards the Great Eastern Metropolis of New York; or, leaving Albany in the cars of the Western Railroad, we pass through Springfield, Worcester and many of the most enterprising towns and cities of Massachusetts, until we find ourselves safely landed in Boston, the "city of Notions;" or, leaving the Bellefontaine Railroad at Crestline, the junction with the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad, we take the cars of the latter road, running due east to Pittsburgh, where we connect with the Great Pennsylvania Central Railroad, passing through the most beautiful section of Pennsylvania — giving us views of the most rugged mountain scenery, interspersed with the most beautiful valleys. Blairsville, Johnstown, and Altoona, one of the most lovely and romantic spots, are passed, and we arrive at Harrisburgh, where passengers bound for Baltimore take the cars of the Northern Central Railroad, whilst we continue on direct to Philadelphia, passing through the city of Lancaster and the celebrated Lancaster Valley, the garden spot of Pennsylvania.

Leaving Philadelphia in the cars of the Camden and Amboy or New Jersey Railroad, passengers are soon landed in New York, thus giving them an opportunity of visiting "the city of Brotherly Love" en route.

Leaving Indianapolis on the cars of the Indiana Central Railroad, we run due east, passing though many most important and flourishing cities, amongst which are Cambridge City, Centerville and Richmond, until we arrive at Dayton, where connection is made with the Mad River and Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad, for points north and south. Continuing on from Dayton, we pass through Xenia, Cedarville, Charleston and Jefferson, and arrive at Columbus, the capital of Ohio, where passengers by the Indiana Central take cars for Cleveland and Pittsburgh, with connections as by Bellefonte

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Railroad; or, continuing on from Columbus due east through Newark, Steubenville, and Rochester, to Pittsburgh. Taking the cars of the Central Ohio Railroad at Columbus, we run in a south-easterly direction through Newark, Zanesville, and numerous other thriving towns, until we strike the banks of the Ohio at Belle-Air, crossing over to Benwood in Virginia, four miles south of Wheeling. Then taking the cars of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at either of the latter named places, we soon pass through the Board Tree Tunnel and find ourselves amidst the magnificent mountain scenery of Virginia, rapidly passing the beautiful mountain towns of Fairmount, Fetterman, Grafton, Oakland, Altamont, Piedmont, and Cumberland, Hancock, Martinsburg, and Harper's Ferry, where passengers change the cars for Winchester. Continuing on from Harper's Ferry, we pass the Point of Rocks, Ellicott's Mills, &c., &c., and arrive at the Washington junction, where passengers for Washington City, Alexandria, Richmond, and the South leave us and take a southern direction, whilst we continue on nine miles farther to Baltimore; thus giving New York passengers the privilege of visiting the cities of Baltimore and Philadelphia on the way.

Thus, it will be seen, that New York and eastern passengers have choice of no less than five different routes, viz., the New York Central, New York and Erie, Pennsylvania Central, Baltimore and Ohio, and the Great Canada route via Chicago.

But to continue the connections from Indianapolis — with the Indiana Central (via Richmond and Hamilton) and Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroads to Cincinnati, where connections are made with the Little Miami, Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton, and all roads terminating at that place — With the Jeffersonville Railroad, for Seymour, Louisville, Frankfort, Lexington, &c. Connecting at Louisville with the Louisville and

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Nashville Railroad — With the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad for Madison, &c. — also with the Indianapolis and Lafayette, and Indianapolis and Peru Railroads, to many of the most important places in Indiana.

At St. Louis, connections are made with the North Missouri Railroad for St. Charles, Warrenton, Montgomery City, and points on the north side of the Missouri river — With the Pacific Railroad and Lightning Line of Packets, for Hermann, Jefferson City, Lexington, Kansas City, Leavenworth, and points on the Missouri river, to Weston — With the Iron Mountain Railroad, to Carondelet, Jefferson Barracks, Potosi, and other southern points.

Also, connecting with the following lines of first class passenger steamers, viz: The Union Packet Line, of twelve splendid steamers — leaving St. Louis daily for Jefferson City, Boonville, Lexington, Kansas, Leavenworth, Weston, and all intermediate points, to St. Joseph. Connecting at St. Joseph with the Council Bluff and Omaha City packets — the Merchants' and Independent Line of first class steamers through, to Kansas, St. Joseph, Council Bluff, Omaha City and St. Louis — also, with the Keokuk Packet Line, for Hannibal, Quincy and Keokuk.

We have thus given, but an imperfect sketch of the various connections of this Great National Route, a full description of its connections and sub-connections requiring more room than the size of this volume will permit. By an examination of a correct map of our country, it will be seen that it is the great trunk road from St. Louis with its branches spreading at Indianapolis to all points. By a continuance of the present liberal management, we believe it is destined to be one of the best paying and certainly one of the most popular railroads in the Western country.

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During the past year the number of passengers conveyed over this road was two hundred and twenty-one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six. The trains have been run with great regularity and care, and no accident of any kind has occurred involving the slightest personal injury to any passenger.

The Company employ Valentine & Co's. Omnibus and Freight Express Line for the purpose of conveying passengers and freight to and from the depot. The omnibusses call at all of the hotels, steamboats, railroad depots, and private residences, for passengers and baggage, and convey them to the cars free of charge; and are always found awaiting the arrival of the cars, when passengers are taken to their residence in the city without delay. This is one of the best managed omnibus lines in the country, and the whole system of collecting and distributing passengers is much superior to the plan adopted in the east. Valentine & Co. own sixteen splendid four-horse passenger omnibusses, each accommodating from twelve to twenty-four persons; eight large baggage wagons, besides forty-eight freight wagons, trucks and machinery wheels. They employ none but the most careful and polite drivers, under the charge of a most gentlemanly and accommodating Manager or Conductor.

Hon. Thos. Allen, of St. Louis, late President of the Pacific Railroad, is the President of this road. Mr. A. has gained for himself the reputation of one of our most public spirited men, is a shrewd financier — talented and energetic — and adds great strength to the company.

L. R. Sargent, Esq., of St. Louis, one of the oldest and best practical railroad men in the United States is Superintendent. In his selection the Board of Directors have displayed good judgment. Mr. S. possesses every quality requisite, of most indefatigable energy and business capacity, and, by his uniform

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kindness and accommodating manners to all, has rendered himself one of the most popular men in the West. To him, and his worthy assistant, Mr. S. F. Tenny, belongs the credit of securing to this route the quickest time ever made between St. Louis and Cincinnati, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and the East. Mr. S. has now completed arrangements by which the cars will run through to Indianapolis without change. This will prove the most popular move ever made on this route, and will secure a large proportion of the through travel. For this, and for many other changes made for the interest of the travelling and shipping community, Mr. Sargent deserves the thanks of the public.

Mr. B. F. Fifield is all that could be asked for in a General Ticket Agent. With a most gentlemanly and pleasing address he unites the requisite business qualifications. His name is as well known with the travelling community as "household words." He is fully posted on all the Railroad, Steamboat, Stage and Canal Routes, and with a friendly smile upon his amiable looking face imparts his information to the traveller. His name adds great strength to this favorite route.

Capt. James Beebee, is the General Freight Agent. The Captain is well known to the business men of the West, and he enjoys their fullest confidence. The proper dispatch and regulation of freight transportation is one of the most difficult and harassing portions of railway management, and this department could not be placed in abler hands than Capt. Beebee's.

Mr. A. A. VanWormer is Superintendent of the Belleville Division of this Road. He is energetic and competent, and las rendered himself quite popular by his exertions to please the travelling community.

Mr. John S. Miller is the master Machinist. He is well known as one of the most skillful mechanics in the country,

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and his name is a sufficient guaranty that the Rolling Stock will be kept in first class order. Mr. Miller is one of the inventors and owners of Woodruff's celebrated Patent Sleeping Car — all of the inventors and owners of which, we are happy to say, are employees of this road.

The President's, Superintendent's and general business offices of the Company are in the Marble Building, north-east corner of Fourth and Olive streets, St. Louis. Their Freight Depot is at the corner of Second and Poplar streets.

The chief Ticket Office of the Company is at No. 32 Fourth street, under the Planters' House. This office is under the charge of Mr. Fred. M. Colburn, a native of St. Louis, and well known to the business community of the West for the past fifteen years. They have an office also at No. 36 North Levee, between Olive and Locust streets.

A Telegraph Line is now being constructed by the Company, which will add greatly to the management of the trains, and afford additional facilities for the transaction of business.

We must now close our sketch of this Great Eastern Central Route from St. Louis — believing that it is destined to be the most important Railroad in the West: and deserves to be so, not only from its location, but from the efforts of its officers in working for the interests of the travelling and shipping community as well as the interests of the road. These interests are identical, and will be so proved in the success of this Company.

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Taylor, Jacob N; Crooks, M. O. Sketch Book of St. Louis: Containing a Series of Sketches of the Early Settlement, Public Buildings, Hotels, Railroads, Steamboats, Foundry and Machine Shops, Mercantile Houses, Grocers, Manufacturing Houses, Etc . St. Louis: George Knapp and Co, 1858. [format: book], [genre: guidebook; narrative]. Permission: Tulane University
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